Private 5G and edge computing: ideal combo for manufacturing

Author: Editorial
event 20.03.2023.
Foto: Shutterstock

Private 5G has the potential to revolutionize business by providing real-time, actionable intelligence.

Private 5G is the next evolutionary phase in networking for critical applications used in factories, logistics centers and hospitals. Essentially, in any environment that requires the reliability, security, and speed of a wired connection combined with the movement of people, things and data.

Private 5G excels in this area because movement is frequently a factory in Industry 4.0 digital revolution.

Private 5G is deployed as an extension of an organization’s WAN. It’s fast, secure, reliable, and has low latency. You can rely on it to transmit data. Yet, you’re missing out on ground-breaking opportunities if you don’t have a computing resource at the edge where data is gathered to produce actionable intelligence in real time.

Edge computing enables private 5G’s full potential

Thanks to the combination of managed private 5G and managed edge computing, businesses can now analyze situations in the present – rather than waiting for data to be collected (which is often a slow process) and sent to a data center to be processed first.

This multi-platform strategy for manufacturing efficiently gets the relevant data to the factory floor, where decisions must be made. This has implications for an evolutionary rise in productivity and quality as well as more flexibility and customization.

Companies must also manage data ownership, location, and sovereignty. Data can be protected via private 5G by ensuring that all traffic stays inside the building.

Exciting use cases of private 5G

Switching to a private 5G network avoids the proliferation of Wi-Fi access points as well as surveillance blind spots, as asset-based sensors can quickly collect and transmit massive amounts of data, achieving indoor-positioning accuracy of less than one meter.

It is also much easier to reconfigure the connection between devices and improve the timing and synchronization of data feeds from sensors.

Last year, Cisco’s Strategic Execution Office ran a study on private 5G in collaboration with Deloitte, titled “Vertical Use Cases Offer Development”, which explores the key applications of private 5G through use cases.

From broad themes to specific applications

The study identified four themes: enabling hybrid connectivity; activation and policy setup for varied sensor profiles; advanced intelligence with private 5G and the edge-computing stack; integrated app and infrastructure to enable business outcomes.

These themes can be translated into five main areas of application:

  1. Group wireless communications (Push-to-Talk) enable workers to communicate across locations, with real-time location tracking.
  2. Private 5G supports augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), allowing for self-assist, work-assist, and remote-assist capabilities.
  3. Private 5G makes real-time connectivity and control possible for autonomous vehicles.
  4. Computer vision for automatic video surveillance, inspection and guidance is faster and more efficient on a private 5G network.
  5. Connected devices can remain reliably and securely connected to the enterprise network throughout the work shift without relying on Wi-Fi or portable hotspots.

5G’s impact on manufacturing

The study also looks at how private 5G can optimize assets and processes in manufacturing, assembly, testing, and storage facilities. Private 5G allows for faster and more precise asset tracking, system monitoring, and real-time schedule and process optimization using location and event data from sensors and manufacturing systems.

Two cases of private 5G use cases in factories have been presented:

  • Factory asset intelligence: traceability from parts to product, with increased sensor enablement across manufacturing, assembly and testing sites
  • Dynamic factory scheduling: closed-loop control and safety applications enabled by real-time actuation, sensor fusion and dynamic process schedules.

As we continue to investigate the potential of private 5G, it’s abundantly clear that this technology has the ability to transform the manufacturing sector and open the door to a more productive and efficient future.

Source: NTT


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